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Statelessness at the UN: Reaffirming the Right to Nationality

9 July 2012

by Sebastian Kohn & Katrine Thomasen

Open Society Justice Initiative

Last Friday, the UN's Human Rights Council-a body responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world-passed an important resolution on the right to nationality, focusing specifically on women and children. This is an important step to further strengthen international legal norms in this area. It is also a strong indication of increasing understanding and concern for those who have no nationality anywhere-the stateless-and those who experience severe discrimination when they attempt to obtain proof of their nationality.

The resolution is the culmination of nearly two years of advocacy by the Open Society Justice Initiative. The idea was proposed to the US Department of State in the autumn of 2010 as a measure to strengthen children's right to nationality, an issue that overlaps in significant ways with the department's concern with discrimination against women in nationality laws and practices. In early June 2012, a draft resolution was presented to other states in Geneva-where the Human Rights Council meets three times every year-after which negotiations about the content began. The Justice Initiative made an intervention during the session of the council to highlight the importance of this resolution.

Read the Full Reportby Sebastian Kohn & Katrine Thomasen

Open Society Justice Initiative

Today the UN's Human Rights Council-a body responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world-passed an important resolution on the right to nationality, focusing specifically on women and children. This is an important step to further strengthen international legal norms in this area. It is also a strong indication of increasing understanding and concern for those who have no nationality anywhere-the stateless-and those who experience severe discrimination when they attempt to obtain proof of their nationality.

The resolution is the culmination of nearly two years of advocacy by the Open Society Justice Initiative. The idea was proposed to the US Department of State in the autumn of 2010 as a measure to strengthen children's right to nationality, an issue that overlaps in significant ways with the department's concern with discrimination against women in nationality laws and practices. In early June 2012, a draft resolution was presented to other states in Geneva-where the Human Rights Council meets three times every year-after which negotiations about the content began. The Justice Initiative made an intervention during the session of the council to highlight the importance of this resolution.

Read the Full Report here.

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